At a Downing Street press conference to mark lockdown easing in England, the PM struck a nervous tone as he insisted the ‘risks are obvious’ and the country is ‘not out of the woods yet’.
He insisted that while the government is taking the ‘biggest step yet’ towards normality and hopes to spell out a timetable for opening up more sectors next week, danger was still lurking just below the surface.
The cautionary note came as police brace for chaos as bars get up and running for the first time since March tomorrow. Legally they will be allowed to open as early as 6am – although No10 stressed that standard licensing rules will still apply.
Meanwhile, new figures have suggested that the R rate might have crept upwards in some parts of the country, although the overall estimate remains between 0.7 and 0.9.
A survey of 15,000 pubs has found that 42 per cent will open tomorrow, a further 17 per cent are reopening later in July and the rest either don’t know or are waiting to the end of the summer at the earliest.
Critics have called tomorrow ‘Stupid Saturday’ amid fears of heavy drinking, rowdy behaviour and most significantly concerns that there could be a spike in coronavirus cases – while mayhem on the roads are also predicted 10million drivers expected to clog the roads, especially those heading away on holiday after almost four months of lockdown.
But Mr Johnson said the key was for everyone to ‘enjoy summer safely’. ‘Lockdown only succeeded in controlling the virus because everyone worked together, and we will only succeed in reopening if everyone works together again,’ he said.
‘Because we are not out of the woods yet. The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that. If it starts running out of control again this Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and re-imposing restrictions.
‘Anyone who flouts social distancing and COVID-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal.
‘So as we take this next step, our biggest step yet, on the road to recovery, I urge the British people to do so safely.’
In other developments today as England prepares to take another critical step in the crisis:
- Hair salons are preparing to open at midnight and work until morning to meet the frenzied demand from Britons aching for a post-lockdown trim;
- Churches can also reopen for services including weddings of no more than 30 people – but 75,000 couples have already postponed walking down the aisle over the past three months;
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is finally paving the way for summer holidays today by releasing a list of 60 quarantine-exempt countries – but fears have been raised that plans for mass screening for covid-19 at airports could cause ‘log jams’ in the terminals;
At a Downing Street press conference to mark lockdown easing in England tomorrow, Boris Johnson struck a nervous tone as he insisted the ‘risks are obvious’ and the country is ‘not out of the woods yet’
Northern Ireland has got a jump on England by opening pubs a day earlier. Pictured is the Dirty Onion in Belfast today
Screens are being put up on the Atlas Bar and cafe in Manchester as the new era of going out for drinking and food begins tomorrow
Sylvester Kowalczk pictured measuring 2m to put social distancing stickers on the floor at the Ship and Whale pub in Rotherhithe, south London
Beer is deliveed this morning at The Cricketers in Chelmsford, Essex, as England’s tens of thousands of pubs and bars can start serving again
Nearly 75,000 couples postpone their weddings in just three months due to coronavirus lockdown
Nearly 75,000 weddings and same-sex civil partnership ceremonies have been postponed in England since lockdown began more than three months ago.
Weddings will be allowed to take place again from tomorrow on ‘Super Saturday’ with a maximum of 30 people who must maintain social distancing measures.
But the Office for National Statistics has estimated that 73,400 marriages have been postponed along with 300 same-sex civil partnerships between March 23 and today.
Guests at post-lockdown weddings must avoid singing unless behind a screen, not consume any food or drink and avoid playing instruments that must be blown into.
More than 250,000 weddings usually take place in the UK each year, but most couples have been affected by restrictions that came into force in March.
It comes as a couple from Staffordshire who will be among the first to get married in England since lockdown began said they ‘didn’t want to delay it any longer’.
Mr Johnson made the appeal in an LBC radio phone-in this morning as police chiefs urge the British public to use their common sense tomorrow.
The move to allow pubs to reopen from 6am tomorrow will disappoint some punters who had hoped for establishments to open from midnight tonight.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today that the regulations ‘mostly come into force at 12.01am’ tomorrow.
They added: ‘The reopening of pubs and bars specifically comes into force at 6am. That would just be in the event anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight.’
A poll by ITVs Good Morning Britain (GMB) showed nearly 90 per cent of voters are dubbing tomorrow ‘Stupid Saturday’ instead of ‘Super Saturday’.
Social media users appear far from excited about pubs in England reopening, with many tweeting they will keep clear of boozers tomorrow.
While some want to stay away from the possible ‘carnage’, others are concerned about a potential rise in cases of Covid-19.
Mr Johnson said there was a need to proceed ‘carefully and cautiously’.
‘Tomorrow we come to step three of the plan that I set out on May 10, that everybody, I think, has understood, or huge numbers of people have understood and followed very carefully and very closely,’ he told LBC.
‘And it’s because people stuck to that plan that we’re now able to carefully and cautiously open up hospitality tomorrow. And my message is really for people to enjoy summer sensibly and make sure that it all works.’
The PM will use a Downing Street
The relaxation in England is set to be a key test of the progress made by imposing draconian restrictions on March 23 to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The PPE on show in Belfast today gives a glimpse of how pubs will look in England when they reopen tomorrow
Beer barrels arrive at the Windsor Castle pub in South Kensington, west London, ahead of pubs reopening tomorrow
A poll by ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) shows that nearly 90 per cent of voters are choosing to dub ‘Super Saturday’ as ‘Stupid Saturday instead’
Social media users tweeted that they will be keeping clear of pubs in England tomorrow
Hairdressers gear up to open salons at midnight with Perspex screens, visors and NO magazines while you wait as many are booked up for FIVE WEEKS in advance
Salons are preparing to open at midnight and work until morning to meet the frenzied demand from Britons aching for a post-lockdown trim.
After three months shuttered, hairdressers will be working flat out from tomorrow when the country ushers in the next big easing of restrictions.
Confronted with a rammed appointment book for the next five weeks, salons are eager to start welcoming clients as soon as possible.
Charlotte’s Academy in Cowes, Isle of Wight, has bookings for 20 customers from one-minute past midnight until 8.30am, where they will be dealt with by a team of three hair stylists.
Meanwhile Sunderland salon owner Debra Adamson has agreed to open on the hour for a loyal customer who failed to find an appointment after they were quickly snapped up following Boris Johnson’s announcement last month.
‘We’ve put a lot of thought into this, he said. ‘We feel now is not the right time for is. We’d like to avoid that first wave of enthusiasm as people return to the pubs on what is typically the busiest drinking day of the week.
‘Our first concern is the health and safety of our staff and customers.
Official pleas for calm tomorrow are being echoed by the public, as social media users tweet about keeping clear of pubs in England on ‘Super Saturday’.
‘In a pandemic, pubs have a new licence, a licence to contaminate, a licence to kill,’ one social media user tweeted this morning.
Another post read: ‘Why is the reopening of pubs tomorrow being called Super Saturday? Carnage Saturday seems more appropriate.’
One person commented: ‘Is anyone actually going to the pub tomorrow or are they are all doing the same thing and “wait until it dies down”?’
‘#StayHomeSaturday #ProtectNHS,’ one tweet read. ‘StopTheSpread. Drink at home, don’t risk spreading Covid-19 please.’
Another said ‘if I see anyone going to the pubs on reopening I will unfriend u on sight’, while one added: ‘The list time this country had a super Saturday, we were celebrating incredible sports people winning gold medals. Now they are using the phrase to celebrate pubs reopening and people most probably getting drunk.
‘Change the phrase, because tomorrow is not going to be super.’
Pub landlord William Douglas told GMB today that he has chosen not to reopen Docks Beer in Grimsby amid concerns for health and safety.
Social media users tweeted that they will be keeping clear of pubs in England tomorrow
Tomorrow is expected to be a wash-out as pubs in England reopen after months of lockdown
Traffic jams alert as 10million motorists plan to hit the road on Super Saturday to escape homes for an overnight stay, poll finds
A third of drivers will take to the road this weekend to celebrate the easing of the lockdown, according to the RAC.
More than 10million of us will be escaping our homes for an overnight stay on July 4, the motoring group’s poll found.
The date has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ due to pubs and restaurants reopening. Officials are now braced for chaos on what is expected to be the busiest weekend on the roads this year, as many choose to avoid public transport for fear of infection.
It marks a stark contrast to two months ago, when the traffic on the roads plummeted to mid-1950s levels.
A fifth of motorists, equivalent to 6.5million, are planning overnight stays with friends or family, while around two million drivers will head off for ‘staycation’ breaks at campsites, the poll found.
Some 680,000 drivers plan to visit caravan sites, while one million will stay in hotels, B&Bs or other self-catering accommodation.
The weekend traffic forecast is certainly worrying residents in the former fishing town of St Ives in Cornwall.
Officials fear that cars blocking up the narrow, winding roads will make it hard for tourists to follow social distancing rules when on foot, increasing the risk of a second wave of coronavirus. As a result, the streets have been closed to most traffic during the day.
A ‘keep left’ system will also be introduced. Officials said the plan ‘reflects the town’s almost unique challenge of accommodating 220,000 visitors (on top of a higher number of day trippers) with a resident population of approximately 11,000’.
A document published by St Ives Town Council, Cornwall Council and St Ives Business Improvement District said: ‘Even in a normal year, pedestrians are in conflict with vehicles, crushing on to the pavements to allow them to pass.’
Those heading on staycations this summer will have to adhere to new safety measures, with guests expected to remain more than 1m apart from others.
There will also be contactless check-ins, increased hygiene measures and guests will not be permitted to welcome any visitors during their stay.
‘We announced on social media a few days that we wouldn’t be reopening on July 4 and would be delaying reopening. We had hundreds of messages of support and no negative feedback, so we feel that decision is vindicated.
‘We are taking a “wait and see” approach. It will be later in July and possibly even in August. We are mindful of that spike in Leicester.
‘We hear that Doncaster down the road, 53 miles down the road from us, is not far behind. This disease has not gone away.
‘We’re one of the busiest pubs in North East Lincolnshire and when we do reopen it is absolutely essential that we do so with all the correct processes in place and we can manage what can be up to 400 people in this building – which is a challenge.’
Today, Mr Johnson will paint the easing as a means of supporting the livelihoods of bosses and their employees but warn ‘we are not out of the woods yet’.
‘They are our local restaurants, hairdressers, libraries, museums, cinemas, and yes, pubs.
‘They are also hotels, B&Bs, indeed much of our tourism industry,’ he will say, according to an extract released to the media ahead of the speech.
‘All these businesses and their workers have put in a heroic effort to prepare their venues for this reopening, to work out a way to trade in a way that keeps their customers safe.
‘But the success of these businesses, the livelihoods of those who rely on them, and ultimately the economic health of the whole country is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly.
‘We must not let them down. The virus is still with us and the spike in Leicester has shown that. If it starts running out of control again the Government will not hesitate in putting on the brakes and re-imposing restrictions.
‘Anyone who flouts social distancing and Covid-secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal.’
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson’s message was that people should not ‘overdo it’.
Asked if Mr Johnson would be visiting a pub or restaurant tomorrow, the spokesman said: ‘He’s talked about his enthusiasm for a haircut and pint previously but I don’t know exactly what he’s doing on Saturday yet.’
The spokesman added that it would be ‘plain for all to see next week what he’s been doing at the weekend’ if he gets his blonde mop trimmed over the weekend.
It comes after the Treasury was forced to delete a tweet from its official account on Wednesday evening urging people to ‘grab a drink and raise a glass, pubs are reopening their doors from 4 July’.
A Treasury source said: ‘We got it wrong on this and the tweet was quickly removed.’
More than 80% of Britons would strongly back second lockdown if coronavirus cases spike, new poll finds
By Jack Wright for MailOnline
More than 80 per cent of Britons would strongly back a second lockdown if Covid-19 cases spike, a new poll finds.
Over eight in 10 people said they would back lockdown if there were a second spike as most of the nation prepares to ease restrictions.
Almost 70 per cent said they would follow an instruction to self-isolate from a smartphone app.
Six per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they would oppose a second lockdown, compared with 4 per cent of those polled who were 65 and over.
The poll also reveals how nervous people remain about socialising and relaxing in lots of settings which are just about to open up.
70 per cent polled said they would be nervous about going to the pub and would not go to the cinema.
71 per cent would not go on public transport and 73 per cent are not comfortable going abroad.
60 per cent polled would not go to shopping centres and restaurants.